Kelsey Austin

Avid Guitarist of 20 plus years, and guitar blogger. Started AxeDr. Apparel Guitar Tees in 2018. The brand for guitar and music lovers worldwide.

Builder Spotlight: Cort Guitars

Cort Guitars

Its always exciting to come across guitar builders or brands that you haven’t heard of before. I was just perusing google today and stumbled upon Cort Guitars. The name sounded familiar, but I can’t say I’ve ever seen a Cort Guitar in person. It seems Cort Guitars are gaining in popularity, and its easy to understand why. One look at their guitar models page and you’ll be wondering why you haven’t already bought one. They build both acoustic and electric guitars, and the shear amount of models they offer is staggering. It seems like they’ve covered most of the major body styles and configurations offered by all the best guitar brands. Most brands specialize in a few main body styles. Fender has the Stratocaster and Telecaster. Gibson has the Les Paul. Ibanez has the RG. PRS has it’s Custom 24. G&L has the ASAT. You get my point. At first glance, it seems like Cort has picked the best models these brands have to offer, and manufactured their own take. Its a bold move, but the results speak for themselves. Personally, I gravitated straight to their take on the Telecaster. Its part of the Manson Stage Series. Cort partnered with famous builder Hugh Manson. Here is a quote from Cort’s website. “Hugh Manson has been making custom guitars for over 30 years and has earned an enviable reputation within the music industry for innovation and quality, making electric guitars for some of the world’s best known rock & roll superstars, including John Paul Jones from Led Zeppelin and Matt Bellamy from Muse. We are pleased to announce the 2017 collaboration project with Manson Guitar Works two new electric guitar models, M-Jet and Classic TC.” They have a classic model called the “Classic TC” and a “Modern Player” style model called the “M-Jet”. It’s body shape screams Telecaster no doubt, but you know right away that its not a Fender. It might be just a little bit cooler than a Fender. The reviews are fantastic and the build quality is obviously top notch. The classic TC can be found for $499 which means you are getting a lot of guitar for your money. The Cort MBC is a little hard to find to be honest. If you are in the market for a new axe you may want to check out Cort Guitars. They have been around for fifty years and they make a solid affordable guitar. They have acoustics, electrics, extended range….you name it. Some of the more popular models are: * Cort X500 *Cort G280DX JSS *Cort CR250 VB *Cort Yorktown-BV *Cort M200BK M Series Sincerely, The Axe Dr.

Recharge Your Old Worn Out Guitar

Recharge Your Old Worn Out Guitar: Schecter Blackjack

I’m a big fan of guitars. and I really love fixing up my older guitars. Some people would rather get rid of the old and buy a brand new guitar. However, if you are like me, you probably have at least one older guitar that just sounds and plays great. You might not use it very often because its a little worn out. Maybe it has worn out frets? Maybe its because the volume pots are scratchy and don’t work? Maybe the input jack solder joint detached and you just haven’t gotten around to fixing it? Or maybe its because the old pickups are a bit worn and dull sounding? The last statement is my focus for this post. Older pickups that are worn out, and just don’t sound as bright or as punchy as they used to. My example is my old Schecter Blackjack (from when they used to make them with REAL Seymour Duncans, not the Duncan Design ripoffs.) I gigged with this guitar for several years and it served me well. I still enjoy playing it every once in a while, but I mainly use my G&L Bluesboy. I’ve done my best to keep the Blackjack in good playable condition over the years. I replaced the old neck humbucker with a new Seymour Duncan SH-1N ’59. That brightened it up a bit. I even soldered in some new Bourns 500k volume and tone pots. Its cleared up a little more. Now my focus has turned toward the Bridge Humbucker. Its a Seymour Duncan SH-4 Bridge Humbucker. Its a great sounding pickup, but its a bit old with pitted pole pieces and it seems like the magnets have lost a bit of their pull. So I thought, “I wonder if you can recharge pickup magnets?” As it turns out, yes you can recharge pickup magnets. Boutique pickup makers do this all the time when making their pickups. I learned of two ways to do it. 1. Use an Electromagnetic Magnet Charging Machine 2. Use a “Permanent Magnet” to realign your pickup magnet The method I’m interested in is number two. Using a “permanent magnet” to recharge or re-magnetize the pickup magnet. I found a few youtube videos that walk you through the process. I personally find the first one more helpful. I didn’t have the “permanent magnets” so I found some really strong magnets on various household objects. One was an old stereo speaker, very strong magnet. The other was the magnetic mount on a utility lite. Another was one of those magnetic trays that hold nuts and bolts like you might use in the garage when working on your car I also used a compass to determine which side of the magnets were north and south. Then used the same process in the first video. I only re-magnetized my pole pieces as they were easier to remove than the entire pickup. Believe it or not, it actually worked quite well. I got significantly more magnetic pull from the pole pieces. If you try it but end up with too much charge on your pickup magnets, you can remove some of the charge by doing the process with the magnet reversed. Also be aware that this will change the tone of your pickups, no joke, so take it slow and easy. If this is for a guitar that you rely on, you may not want to do this, it will alter the sound of your guitar. I hope you find this interesting and I hope you get great results. I thought it was worth sharing. Enjoy Sincerely, The Axe Dr. Sincerely, The Axe Dr.

Do Pricey Strings Sound Better?

Do Pricey Strings Sound Better?

I’m a big fan of anything that gives your guitar better tone. Whether it be pedals, amps, pickups, strings etc. I restring my guitars about once a month. New strings ensure I’m getting the clearest tone out of my gear. But there are so many brands and price levels of strings. Does a pricey set like D’Addario NYXLs really sound/play better than their standard D’Addario Nickel Wound XLs? Since I prefer to put new strings on about every month I’ve chosen GHS Boomers. I’ve tried more expensive sets for several months in a row, but honestly didn’t notice any distinct advantage versus the cheaper strings. The GHS Boomers suit my needs just fine, but I’m always looking for ways to improve tone. Is there anyone out there who agrees or disagrees with this? I’m curious to hear from any of you with something to say about pricey vs cheap strings. Is there a benefit to the pricey strings? What strings do you prefer? Please add your comments below.

Fender Buys Bigsby

Fender Buys Bigsby Guitars

So posted a press release. It is the official announcement concerning Fender Musical Instruments Corp (FMIC) buying out the Bigsby brand. Bigsby has been a big name in the Guitar business for decades. They are renowned for their Bigsby Vibrato. The Bigsby Vibrato System has been considered an upgrade for any guitar lucky enough to have it. I recently restored a Bigsby equipped Gretsch guitar that needed a lot of TLC. Without that Bigsby, the guitar would not have been worth restoring. It was only after I finished the restoration that I truly appreciated the timeless quality of the Bigsby Vibrato. It is truly the perfect combination of guitar style and guitar functionality. In fact that bigsby grew on me so much that I’m now quite a big fan. I’m even considering adding one to my G&L ASAT. You can expect to pay $100 or more for the Bigsby upgrade, and thats if you are going to install the upgrade yourself. Even the knockoffs are expensive these days. That should tell you something about the quality products behind the Bigsby name. Here is what Fender had to say in Fender’s Official Press Release: “We are excited to acquire Bigsby® and add to our esteemed portfolio of specialty brands.” said Jeff Cary, Senior Vice President of FMIC Specialty Brands. “There is such a rich history with the vibratos, and a mystique around the guitars, pedals and steel instruments that is fascinating. Fred and Dinah Gretsch have been wonderful owners and we look forward to working with them to ensure a smooth transition.” It seems like the companies are happy with the arrangement. Here is what Fred Gretsch had to say from Fender’s Official Press Release: “Paul Bigsby, Ted McCarty, Dinah and Fred Gretsch and Fender Musical Instruments Corp. all have one thing in common, an unquestioning dedication to product excellence over the long haul,” said Fred Gretsch. “We congratulate team Fender on this strategic acquisition.” For more information check out the official press release from Fender: Fender’s Press Release Sincerely, The Axe Dr.

Cool Guitar Mod #1 The Kill Switch

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Here is a cool DIY Guitar Mod any guitar owner can handle. It’s called a “Kill Switch”. Normally a kill switch is reserved for use on engines or machines. Something like a drag car or a chainsaw is where you would normally find them. Ex: A drag car could use a kill switch to cut power to the fuel pump in case of disasters/wrecks. It helps ensure that a fire won’t start in a wreck. Guitarists borrowed this idea and applied it to the guitar’s signal path. The Kill Switch basically cuts off the guitar’s signal by rerouting it to ground. It can be used as a cool guitar effect, or more simply as a means to mute your guitar when you aren’t playing. This quick video shows how you can add one to your axe. Enjoy. Sincerely, The Axe Dr. John 5 Kill Switch Tricks

My Guitar Rig

My Worship Guitar Rig

This is the workhorse of my rig. For quite a while I used it with the 4 Cable Method into my Fender Rock Pro 1000 100 watt and 4×12 Speaker Cab. It worked well, and it did its job. The downside was that it was LOUD. It was hard to tame that beast. Thats when I decided to try the direct out to a powered monitor method.